Syahadwa village in Hisar district of Chandigarh has set a very unique and wonderful example for many others to follow. Residents of the village pitched in and collected Rs. 1.75 lakh to help a teacher clear his bank and electricity dues so they would be able to elect him as their sarpanch.
The villagers decided to take this step to conduct a unanimous election and to avoid the intense lobbying and political rivalry that takes place for the post of a sarpanch.
Picture for representation only. Source: Michael Foley/Flickr
Their search for a non-controversial and low profile candidate ended with 48-year-old Ashwani Kumar, who is a matriculate, belongs to a poor family, and serves as a village-level private school teacher. There were 14 other aspirants for the post, and all of them withdrew their nomination papers on the last day of withdrawal so they would be able to select one sarpanch unanimously.
The one thing that is both surprising and inspiring is that Ashwani belongs to the lohar community that is considered to be a backward class of traditional travelling blacksmiths. And in Syahadwa village, which is majorly dominated by jats, his community has only 45 voters out of the total 3,600 in the electorate.
When Ashwani informed the villagers that he would be unable to participate in the elections because of his pending bank and electricity dues, they decided to pay all his dues. While he was not much interested in politics in the beginning, Ashwani has now resolved to take up this responsibility and perform his duties well.
“We were apprehensive about major abuse of liquor during the polls,” Ram Kumar, former sarpanch of the village told The Time of India.
The villagers even decided to elect all 15 village panches and one block samiti member unanimously. They will now cast their votes only for the post of member of zila parishad on January 10, which involves a group of villagers coming together.